Republicans: Schools Are Violating Parents’ Rights by Teaching Kids Racism Is Bad
One of the most dominant features of the modern Republican Party is its love for creating moral panic over things that either (1) aren’t actually happening or (2) are positive developments but ones that conservatives insist will lead to the downfall of society. Whether it’s immigrants supposedly taking Americans’ jobs or paid parental leave turning fathers into “doting dad[s],” the GOP has a long history of shamelessly trying to convince people that something very sinister is transpiring, and only Republicans can save them.
At the moment, the cause célèbre is the idea that liberals have stripped parents of a say in their children’s education, leading to terrible outcomes like kids being required to wear masks in the middle of a pandemic, curricula that includes accurate facts about America’s racist past and present, and—and you may want to sit down for this because it’s extremely alarming—the leaders of tomorrow being taught that the Holocaust did actually occur.
Of course, out here on planet Earth, parents haven’t been stripped of anything. Masks are required in schools where responsible adults want their staff and students to live, while only one state in the country has announced a vaccine mandate for schools, also in an effort to help prevent its constituents from getting sick and dying. (Incidentally, schools already required students to get a whole host of inoculations well before COVID-19 came along). And when it comes to talking about things like slavery, systemic racism, and the Holocaust, the parents who are against it simply can’t stand the idea that their children are learning that sometimes, white people do bad things. Meanwhile, there is nothing preventing parents from involving themselves in their children’s education in a reasonable way—emphasis on reasonable—or from pulling their kid out of a school if that’s what they decide to do.
Nevertheless, conservatives have whipped their base into such a frenzy over things like critical race theory, which most of them completely mischaracterize, and the coronavirus, which they also don’t understand, that parents have taken to violently airing their grievances as though their children have been subject to human rights abuses. Here’s a fun story from The New York Times:
“I don’t want to die for it”? Is there a sentence that was less likely to be uttered by a school board member prior to the past year? Thanks, Republicans!
While Al-Abdrabbuh acknowledges that of course parents have a right to be heard, the recent spate of behavior is completely out of hand. “What’s happening now, and what has been happening,” Mr. Al-Abdrabbuh said, “is much more serious than simply listening to excited parents who want what’s best for their kids.” Like, for instance, the lawn-burning incident.
So yeah, it’s clear that it is school boards and teachers that are under attack, and not parents, but that hasn’t stopped the GOP from cynically fanning the flames. Last month, soon-to-be Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin suggested he’ll ban books written by acclaimed author Toni Morrison. On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that the GOP will “soon unveil a Parents’ Bill of Rights,” a thing that is obviously not necessary but plays well on Fox News. On Thursday, Senator Josh Hawley tweeted, “It’s time to turn back Joe Biden’s effort to shut parents out of their kids’ education” and then told Laura Ingraham that “the Biden administration [is] trying to use the FBI to silence parents” (it’s not). On Friday, Representative Jim Jordan simply wrote on Twitter: “The Republican Party is the party of parents.” Which is a bit rich coming from the subject of this CNN story from last year:
Published at Fri, 05 Nov 2021 22:13:10 +0000